Forget the school association for a minute. Let's say there's this quarterback and he's the leader of a 9-1 team that is ranked 10th in BCS standings. The team is also leading its division and controls its destiny in reaching the conference championship game. What about the quarterback's individual statistics? They're phenominal. He leads the nation in passing yards per game (339.1). He has the second most passing touchdowns in the nation (27). He also leads the nation in total passing yards (3391). He has broken school records and will break more before the season is through. He leads his respective conference in nearly every quarterback category and will likely be the 1st team All-Conference selection at his position.
A quarterback like this should be on all kinds of National Awards lists, right? So how many is he on?
None. Nada. Zero.
This is the unfortunate situation Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden finds himself in. He has put up gaudy numbers all year long and yet, at the end of the season, he will receive zero national acclaim for his performance. Check out the current lists for national awards he should be eligible for (aside from the Heisman):
The Walter Camp Award - Given to the Player of the Year
The Maxwell Award - Given to the Player of the Year
The Davey O' Brien Award - Given to the Best Quarterback of the Year
The Manning Award - Given to the Best Quarterback of the Year
The Sammy Baugh Trophy - Given to the Best Passer of the Year
(I'm sure there are more but these seem to be the main ones)
How is it possible that the nation's top quarterback isn't on any of these lists? Well, it's quite simple. Brandon Weeden wasn't expected to be a "high caliber" quarterback in the preseason and therefore was not added to any of the Watch Lists for the awards. While it's not "required" to be on a preseason Watch List to win an award, most of the time the recipient of said award is on that list.
When are these Watch Lists created? Some as early as July! Not August or September when Fall practices start and the media can actually see the players. Not in the early-to-midseason when players have actually performed to earn the awards. How absurd is it to create a Watch List for potential Players of the Year when they are months away from playing? That would be like nominating films for Movie of the Year before the film is even made! What sense does that make?
Let's turn this around to fully understand the ridiculousness of this faulty process. And to stay familiar, let's stay inside the Big 12. Guess who was on some of these prestigious Watch Lists. None other than Texas A&M's quarterback, Jerrod Johnson. He was billed to be the best quarterback/offensive player in the Big 12 in the preseason. Where is he now? Riding pine at the end of the bench while his backup, Ryan Tannehill is doing the job he couldn't. Can somebody explain to me why Johnson's hype is more deserving than Brandon Weeden's performance?
Before I go any further, yes, I know I am somewhat preaching to the choir. I know that so many of us out there feel that college football relies in far too many ways on preseason predictions (i.e. AP and Coaches polls). To me, though, this problem seems like a much simpler fix. Changing when the first Top 25 rankings come out drastically changes college football and its landscape for the future. That is a huge decision that must be well thought out before decided on.
Individual awards are different. They have no effect on college football or its season outcomes. They are fluff. They are extremely important fluff that affects recruiting, national recognition, and individual acknowledgement--but still, the awards themselves do not have anything to do with the season. So why can a change not be made? Why can't Watch Lists be started in the early season rather than months before the season starts? Even more outrageous, why can these lists not be amended in a fairer fashion? If team rankings can fluctuate as much as they do throughout the season, why can't the individual awards work the same way?
The bottom line is that a change has to be made. Brandon Weeden could very well continue his dominance for the remainder of the season and finish as the nation's top quarterback yet receive not one national accolade. And it isn't as if he is achieving this feat in the Sun Belt conference either. He is putting up monster numbers in the Big 12 and his team is ranked in the top 10 in the BCS standings because of it. What else has to be done and what further evidence do these award committees need for a necessary change to be made?